2009-09-01

SPriNg iS hERe ^_^

Spring is here! The cherry blossoms on my street have gone into full bloom overnight. At least I think they're cherry blossoms. Or they're blossoms of some kind. You can see I've obviously got a green thumb. They literally just sprung up overnight, it was still dry and bald looking one day and the next morning I was like "Woah, what is this!?". Nevertheless they're pretty to look at and a nice sight to come home to...if I manage to get home in daylight that is.


Today I decided I wanted to leave work at 5pm on the dot. So I did. It was a bright and sunny day, and I didn't even get to take a lunchtime stroll, so I figured I deserved to leave work on time.

Anyway, I got home and realised I actually had time to cook dinner (as opposed to heating up leftovers in the microwave), so I decided to make zucchini fritters. The reason for zucchini fritters was more because I had a wilting zucchini in my fridge that I didn't want to go rotten. It was already looking kind of wrinkled and black at one end. I originally bought two zucchini to make roast vegies, but in the end only used up one. With only one zucchini left, and no other roasting vegies to go with it, I was at a loss about what to do with this extra zucchini. Thank goodness for Google. How ever did we live before Google came along?! Out of all the recipes for zucchini I've found, only the fritter required ingredients I actually had in the house. Even so I had to skip the parsley because I don't normally buy herbs. And the recipe called for Feta cheese, which I again don't normally have in the house, so I figured cheddar cheese was just as good. After some "slight" modifications, the end results was this.


It suddenly dawned on me while I was mixing the ingredients that fritters are really just like the western version of the okonomiyaki. Instead of having cabbage and meat you fill it up with artery-clogging cheese, lots of eggs and random leftover vegetables. Anyway, the end result was quite nice, despite my personal adjustments. Afterall anything with melted cheese can't taste that bad.

Anyways, that's me for today. I hope the weather stays good for another couple of days so that I can take my lunchtime walk. I really need to get out of the office and exercise. Especially after eating greasy fritters laden with melted cheese......mmm...melted cheese...*drools*

2009-07-22

Freaky weather

It's thundering. In the middle of winter. This morning when I left home it was bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky. I had to wear sunnies to drive to work. If this doesn't constitute as freaky weather I'm not sure what will.

I hate thunder. If I was a dog I'd be the typical thunder phobic pooch that none of the behavouralists can do anything about.

I hope this is not an indication of the summer weather here =(

2009-07-19

The leaning tower of pancakes

Sunday morning is pancake morning. Well, not really. Last Sunday when my friend came up we thought we'd make something special for breakfast. So we made pancakes. My favourite pancake recipe called for buttermilk, and the smallest package I could get was a 500ml carton. So inevitably I had heaps of buttermilk left. Unfortunately buttermilk isn't really good for much else other than pancakes. I can only recall two other recipes off the top of my head which requires buttermilk, and neither of which I really want to cook (requires too much effort).

So instead of wasting the remaining buttermilk, I made another batch of pancakes this morning. I figured I can always freeze the extras and have them for breakfast during the week (says the queen of frozen food =P).

Behold, my leaning tower of pancakes.

The last pancake was the biggest, so it became the leaning tower of pancakes - with a hood! lol

2009-07-18

Let there be internet

I have internet access! \^o^/ Well, it wasn't like I didn't before, but surfing in the privacy of one's home is so much different than surfing at work. For one, it felt highly inappropriate to blog and go through my Google Reader whilst being paid for it. Email I can sort of excuse myself, seeing as a large portion of internal communications occur through email. But I doubt I'd be able to provide a credible reason why I'm on Google Reader should my supervisor decide to ask.

So being on my frugal living principles, I outright refused to pay for Telstra's outrageous prices for ADSL2+, which is pretty much the only provider here that does provide ADSL. All other companies provide only ADSL. Guess I should be grateful I could get some form of broadband at all. Where my friend was living, they could only get dial-up, which was about half the speed of normal dial-up for some reason. I think there's much to be worked on for Australia's broadband infrastructure.

Last weekend my friend came up for a visit, and she brought up a modem for me. On Tuesday I registered for ADSL. On Thursday I got the confirmation email saying my line is active. Thursday night I came home and there was ADSL signal. I thought I was up for a bit of tech-support tackling, but lo and behold, the line became active automatically on Friday night. Yipee! No need for frustrating and pointless phone calls to the tech support.

Sure the connection is slow (max download was at 232.3kbps), but it's defintely better than no internet at all. Plus I have infinite patience when it comes to slow internet connections. This is the girl who would wait 4 days for an episode of BLEACH to download on dial-up. =P Compared to the patience required for dial-up, this is nothing.

So expect to see more frequent blog updates for the next couple of weeks, till the novelty of living on one's own wears off, and I run out of things to blog about.

Yesterday when I came home, one of the neighbours told me that lady next door has a boyfriend who just got released from jail. So I might start hearing lots of racket and loud music. Hmm...... When I moved in, the landlord told me that my neighbours were "single mother with kid, single mother with kid, and young couple". I guess being an ex-criminal doesn't automatically make you a dangerous person. I remember one of the owners we had at the last work place was just released from jail, and he was actually a very nice person. Shouldn't form prejudices I guess.

I made stir-fried noodles for dinner.

Tada!

It was a big plateful. That's what happens when you guesstimate and make up your own recipes. At least it wasn't burnt, or over-seasoned, like the dishes I made when I first started cooking for myself. But that's a story for another time.

2009-06-26

The eagle has landed......like a month ago

Gee how time flies. Feels like I just moved here yesterday, but I've been here for nearly 4 weeks. This blog post probably should've happened a while ago, but I was wrestling with my office computer. I could swear that last time I opened up blogger, ready to post my arrival post, the computer refused to load blogger properly, but today it's fine. Maybe the computer hates me for taking it away from it's previous owner (who's office table I've also taken over, hope they don't hold a grudge and just suddenly collapse on me one day).

So anyway, after much stress and organising, I finally managed to find a place to live (see left - it's the front of the place, with a shared garden area with the other units). It's not in the best part of town, but probably not the worst either. It's like a small townhouse/unit, 2 bedrooms with a small garden out the back. Luckily the landlord does the gardening, coz else I would've killed their plants within the week.

The roof doesn't leak, which is a bit of a bonus (although according to the locals, it's so dry here that even if it was leaking, it wouldn't have made a difference). The place is not new, so it comes with that which you'd expect with an oldish house - leaking taps, weird lighting, musty smell. I'm slowly working on the musty smell.

According to the landlord the previous tenant trashed the place, so they had to change the carpet and repaint the place (that explains the red front porch). Unfortunately it also meant that that airconditioning that was upstairs is also gone. When it gets to summer I'm hoping I'll probably be migrating downstairs to sleep.

There's very little furniture in the place. Considering the cost of the move, I was being a little frugal. Afterall, it'll be only me, myself and I (apart from occasional visits from Melbourne), how much luxury do I really need? So I have a bed (which I bought up from Melbourne), and a make-shift "desk" in the bedroom.



Yes, it's a pile of boxes stacked up like lego to form a desk.

You think that's bad, this is my first attempt.



Talk about totally frugal living, eh?! Anyway, my parents are coming up this weekend, and they're bringing a desk, so after this weekend, I won't have to sit Japanese style and end up with very very numb legs (probably not good for the circulation either).

The drive up was suprisingly relaxing. Having never driven much myself, I really enjoyed the 5 hour drive up. Didn't scratch the car nor bump into anything. Then when we finally got into town, on the way out of the motel driveway I rammed into the bush on the side and badly scratched my car. T_T

Anyway, I'm slowly getting used to the town and living on my own. Living away from home is so overrated. The freedom is so not worth the extra time spent cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping for groceries. Who would've thought they took up so much time?? Especially the cooking. Whereas at home mum could easily have dinner with 2 dishes and soup on the table within an hour, it takes me like an hour just to stir fry the vegetables. What do I use all that time on you ask? I don't know! It just seems to be time consuming. So I've given up on the idea of 2 dishes a soup. I'm happy to have something just to go with the rice. Man am I looking forward to my parents' visit this weekend. No cooking = happiness.

Well, I'd better get back and actually do some work now. Now that I know I can blog here, I'll probably be spending much time ranting about my life away from home. =P Toodles!

2009-05-15

Flying Solo? *pfft* This is so much more

Well, I thought is was about time I posted another update, before I'm high and dry with no internet access.

Note profile change *points left*. Yes, currently NO LONGER employed to save the lives of fluffy little cuddle pots. By choice mind you, not because of this economic recession that's looming over our heads.

My last post over 2 months ago was about me driving solo for 3 weeks. Well I obviously made it without any hazardous collisions. I was all proud when I handed back the car to my Dad without a single scratch. Yay me. Although now the windscreen has a giant chip on it, but that's a totally different story for later posts.

So I thought at the time that was going to be my solo/independent stint for a while. Boy was I wrong.

In about a week's time, I'll not only be driving myself, but also living by myself, cooking for myself, washing my own clothes and making sure my living environment will not become a pig sty.

Yes I am moving out of home. To a completely different state. To a town in the middle of nowhere, one that's not even somewhere you'd bypass on the way between the capital cities.

When I first found out 3 weeks ago, it didn't seem real. Then when things sort of sank in, all that was looping in my head was "OMG what am I doing? OMG what am I doing?". Then it sort of went into this panic mode of "OMG I don't have a car, I don't have anywhere to live, I don't even know really how to cook properly!" The one time I lived by myself for work experience in Shepparton, I survived on porridge for breakfast, tuna sandwiches for lunch, and canned fish+rice for dinner. It was a lot of fish. And I'm sure that's not really a viable way to survive long term.

I guess when there's a bunch of stuff to do, you can only really tackle them one at a time.

So I started with living arrangements. Finding decent accomodation is so much more difficult than how I envisioned it to be. For one thing, the distance limits us from making daily trips to inspect a place when it suits the realestate agents. So when we could finally rock up to the town, either the places we were interested in was let, or the realesated agent couldn't let us see on the day. Also a lot of the times the places differ quite dramatically to what's seen on the photos.

So in regards to the accomodation, currently I'm still homeless. With only 1 week to go, the panic button's definitely firing off in that area. However, my supervisor said if need be, they can always find me temporary accomodation. I really hate to trouble people this way but at least that safety net is still there. Failing that, there's always motels.

At least the car is settled. I didn't want a brand new car, seeing as I'd likely drive long distances and depreciate it much faster. But I didn't want a totally old car that's likely to break down on me and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere on a country road where I'd get attacked by wombats (or something more ferocious). In the end I settled for a 2007 Toyota Corolla. My family has this big customer loyalty to Toyota cars, simply because the ones we've had always stood by us and served us well.

When hunting around for second hand Corollas, I noticed that there were heaps more hatchbacks than sedans. I'd originally wanted a hatchback, because I like the rearwindow screenwipers. But then I realised that the luggage space is pretty limited, and seeing as I'll be relying on my car to transport my junk to my new place, I'd probably be better off settling for a sedan.

Nehoos, long story short (it's already been a pretty long story), I bought the first sedan with a colour that I didn't mind. Today we went and picked it up. It was an ex-rental car, so it's done some miles. Plus it's got these tiny scratches on the front bumper from flying stones. The dealer did some touch-up work on it, but it was pretty shoddy. Oh well, at least it drives. Plus if it looks a little delapidated, maybe it'll attract less attention when someone's looking for a car to steal or window to smash lol.

After deciding on the car, I went hunting around for car insurance, and OMG I never realised being on your P-plates and having less driving experience makes such a massive difference to the insurance premium. All the quotes I got were over $1000!! O_O Stupid insurance, they'd better be worth it. On a plus side though, apparently my premium is reduced by like $300 if I lived in my whoop-whoop town in the middle of nowhere as compared to here. lol I guess there is a benefit to me moving afterall (apart from the job of course).

So in conclusion, the one important thing I've learnt about moving out of home is that it makes you bleed money like you've severed an artery. There's still the accomodation, afterwards setting up a new home (e.g. fridge, microwave and washing machine etc). It's definitely going to take a year's worth of savings for this move, if not more. *sigh* It is so much more easier to use money than to make it, I've only truely come to appreciate this fact now...

2009-02-25

Flying Solo

For the next 3 weeks I will be driving myself around. Not that big a deal eh, says many. But for those of you who know something about me, I have had the luxury of being driven around by other people pretty much since I've been in Australia. Usually it's by my dad, sometimes friends of mine that I can leach a ride from, and of course, the good people of the public transport system. I've always used the excuse that our family only has one car to avoid having to drive myself. Secretly I enjoy blanking out during a ride whilst someone else takes care of the stresses of the road. A close friend of mine has been nagging me to drive more ever since I got my P-plates, and I've always just nonchalantly replied "if I have to, I will". And so, now I have to.

The first trip is always frought with tension. And it didn't help that the first solo trip was on a high speed freeway coming home from the airport. A lot of internal screaming was involved.

Firstly I have officially confirmed that I have a poor sense of direction, as well as the inability to interpret road signs whilst under high tension. Coming home from the airport on the Tullamarine fwy, for some reason I thought I was on, and meant to continue on the Hume. So lo and behold, I took the Hume turn off and found myself driving away from the city instead of towards. So after many missed heart beats and a short period of internal screaming, I managed to rectify the situation with a massive u-turn at the next exit, and got safely back on the right path.

Then there were the lane changes. I'm good when cars are more than 50 meters behind me, but any closer and I just panic. So when nearing my exit (this time the correct one), I found I had to suddenly change lanes to get to the exit. Stupid sudden insert of extra lanes near my exit. So I did the right thing, looked in the rear view mirror, did my head check and pulled to my left. But somehow I must've misjudged how fast the car behind me was coming, because next thing I knew there was some very loud and angry honking behind me. Oops. Sorry to the person I suddenly cut in front of on the Tulla. Hopefully it'll be the only near miss I'll have during these 3 weeks.

I've only been driving solo for 6 hours and already I hate it.

I have a doctors appointment this afternoon. I think I'll take the bus...

 
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